Market analysis is key to understanding your customers and your competitors. It provides you with insights that can help drive better business planning and strategy.
Just like with your business, good market research takes a bit of planning and strategy. One false move can drive a good research project into the ground faster than you can say “qualitative data collection”.
Here are the top six mistakes that can derail research, and how to avoid them.
Research is an investment, so you want to make sure you really need it. To be sure now is the time to begin a research project, gather key stakeholders who need the data you’re going to produce and ask yourselves the following questions:
This simple exercise will be extremely valuable in deciding whether to hire a research consultant and how to utilize them.
Doing market research in an effort to find out “something” (i.e. anything!) about your customers may prove to be expensive, and in many cases, unhelpful. Brainstorm some specific questions before beginning a research project such as:
Being very clear about the goal of the research will make it more cost-efficient and produce better results.
Companies often come to us with a single, burning yes-no question. But it’s not that simple. Any strategic question you might ask in a survey involves multiple factors that influence the answer. Ideally, you want to answer not only the Yes or No of your question, but also the Why.
If you let it, market research data can not only answer your key question, but also shape new strategies for going to market, sales, advertising, shelf promotion, packaging messaging, and many other innovations.
Asking the wrong people is one of top reasons research projects fall short. If your survey target sample is too broad, you risk gathering irrelevant data. If it’s too narrow, your target will be hard, and maybe impossible, to find. And you may miss or overlook a segment that could be important,if your narrow assumptions are off-base.
Depending on the goals of your market study, you may need to survey not only customers, but also potential customers, former customers, employees, distributors, vendors, and more.
Your research is only as good as your research materials. So, when it comes to insights that determine your business’ next move, Google is not good enough. Neither is just handing out a questionnaire.
Research methods and materials must be up-to date, accurate, unbiased, and aligned with the goals of the research project or study. To ensure that you achieve valid results, consider utilizing the skills of a professional librarian and/or a qualified research partner.
What’s the point of investing in research if you’re not going to use it? Believe it or not, “credenza research” happens all the time (valuable results sit, ignored, on the actual or digital “credenza” in someone’s office). Business owners will often ignore concrete data simply because it did not provide the answers they hoped for. Don’t fall prey to this fatal mistake.
Every business requires a different strategy and approach. To discuss your unique needs, contact us now.